I bought the handcuffs in the photo 50 years ago as a young rookie cop. In those days, we had to buy every single piece of our equipment. I used those cuffs all the years I carried a badge. Most of the people I arrested went peacefully. Some became violent and resisted arrest. A few try to kill me. Putting a suspect in handcuffs was the first step in the process of justice.
The old handcuffs remind me of life in the Spirit. Paul said, “We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (II Corinthians 10:5b). His comment was made in a discourse regarding spiritual warfare where he famously wrote, “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God” (10:4-5a). Right after that introduction about spiritual warfare is where the text continues with taking every thought captive. If we don’t realize our thoughts are a spiritual battleground and fail to engage the content of our thoughts, dark spiritual suspects will roam the streets of our minds with impunity.
The first step in becoming a warrior in the Spirit is learning how to take every thought captive. This capture begins by evaluating the integrity of every thought through the discerning lens of God’s word and under the illumination of the Spirit. Some of the most aggressive encounters I experienced on the streets took place when a suspect thought they were deceiving me by offering a fake identity. When I finally discovered their true identity and they knew I found out they were a wanted person, the fight was on.
Don’t expect a deceptive thought to go without a fight. There are times when our faith must become aggressive if we are going to survive spiritually. By the authority vested in us as followers of Jesus Christ, no deception can withstand the light of truth when confronted. The jail of obedience to the Lord’s will awaits every thought we take captive. Once jailed, the Judge of these thoughts will execute His judgment on those things that want to rule our thinking. When our wayward thoughts are finally behind bars is when we can begin effectively engaging in spiritual warfare. If fugitive thoughts are still free to roam in our minds unchallenged, we will be of little effect in spiritual conflict.